02 May 2008

When public perception dictates politics

In Western Australia, the Leader of the Opposition, Troy Buswell, has become notorious for his "schoolboy" behaviour. First it was snapping a female MP's bra strap. Now he's been outed for sniffing a female colleague's chair.

The amazing thing is that, despite public sentiment showing he should be dumped, its taken his party months to realise he's not the man for the job.

It's a lesson in how not to handle public perception and opinion. The chair-sniffing incident caused outrage in all media. Yet the Party line was "he's a decent bloke".

However, it looks as though common sense and decency might just prevail. One MP, Graeme Jacobs, at least had the sense (and guts) to call for a Party meeting to decide the issue.

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The PR Lab is a consultancy, specialising on research, reputation management, social media, media relations and the development of measurable strategies that produce results. It is run by Dr Greg Smith, a former journalist and PR professional. Greg worked on daily newspapers in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. He held senior PR positions in the Australian Defence Force, Sydney Olympics and national not-for-profits. He has also lectured in PR at Edith Cowan University and the University of Notre Dame Australia.